tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN November 28, 2013 10:00am-12:01pm EST
grandmothers. caroline's name is beauregard. michael barone's heritage comes from the most colorful country in the mediterranean region. we are all immigrants. i understand from john with her pad immigrants -- winthrop had immigrants. i ventured to say we should be discussing a little bit the problem the republican party has with this very important subject where our heroes are people named ted cruz, marco rubio, obviously, in this country is any of us. ..
to what extent do you have legalization and there are various proposals for this. i find myself critical of both the senate bill that was passed last spring and of the critics of the senate bill who are very concerned about border enforcement and so forth. i think we can do better on border enforcement and we have it within our capacity technologically and inconsistent with today's attitudes.
the government has some procuring it as we are learning about healthcare.gov. but i think we have the capacity to basically do that, and as i say i think that people who are hugely considered about the border and yesterday's problem that is likely to be as large in the years to come. one of the things i've been saying is that i think we ought to consider tilting our immigration law more towards high skilled immigrants and less towards extended family reunification and i think it both counts but not far enough in my view. the reason we have huge immigration from mexico is not
because there is a big quota in the 1965 act for mexicans that because of the extended professions that came from the 1924 immigration bill. the 1924 bill was passed by bipartisan majority at the time when republicans have majorities and republicans were carrying big cities like cleveland and detroit and chicago. and they said okay we are going to cut off this ellis island immigration and let our family members come in. there was a concession to political reality and it sort of was the exception that ate up the bill with respect to latin american immigration because people came over in vast numbers and babies were born here and so forth. we have to move towards some form of legalization, but i think we also ought to look at the example of our cousins in canada and australia.
canada and australia have many more i of their immigrants comig through on point systems used on education, skills, and come capacity to invest. they have had higher percentages of immigration each year as a percentage of their pre-existing population and that half high percentages of their populations who are born abroad in australia and canada. also according to the oecd report issued last week would have higher degrees of literacy, numeracy, about the need to work with information, technology which they can united states is lagging behind. it seems to me that some canadians have said to me please don't adopt our immigration system. we want these high school people in tonto and montréal. as an american i would like to
have more in the united states and i don't see either party or a big lobbying group addressing this. the lobby for high skill is for the h. one b. visa that tends to tie people to a particular employer. the engineers at low wages but maybe we would like those people just to be able to operate in the market and see what they can contribute on their own without having to ask microsoft permission. >> my question regarding all of the major leading cities in the country, new york, boston, chicago, san francisco the most productive cities in the country all we very much to the left. what is your rationale for that? >> you didn't mention houston
and dallas. >> those would be leaning to the right. >> basically one of the things i say is you are looking -- if you are looking at the northeast cities from washington going up through boston, you're looking at the chicago, i call it a coastal city because it is like michigan. you're looking at the parts with the greatest income inequality. you hear democrats and people say we hate income inequality. we want income to be equal. in the process, they throw middle-class people out. california, according to the most recent statistics has the highest degree of income inequality in the country. has the highest level of poverty, 23.5%. i think some poverty measures we
can talk is a side issue about poverty measures. but the fact is that californi california's liberal policies have made it a highly unequal state. that's not a very egalitarian society. if you want a more egalitarian society, try texas or georgia. you look at the numbers and he also had greater economic growth. the state of massachusetts has generally been very well on this and basically massachusetts has imported high skilled, high education people. it's exported metal skill that is a relatively small state. you have got, what, six-point something million people in a little less than arizona. california has 38 million in
texas has 25 million. so massachusetts is almost like a single nice metro area that's worked out pretty well. but you still have pretty high levels of any quality as well. so, you know, call on the people that say they want more inequality -- more income equality how come the places that you run have the highest income inequality. and they think the answer is you tax the middle income people out, you have high housing costs by environmental regulations and other things like california, for example but also, metro new york. no population increase in the last 40 years. it's the same. immigrants in and americans out. that's been the pattern. if you want to raise a family and you are not high income, phd educated, you have a decent job,
what does the house cost you in the san francisco bay area or the los angeles area where you have a public school where most of the kids don't speak spanish? you might start off about $560,000, $640,000. people of middle income can't afford that. they are priced out of the market. what is the same house cost in texas? 140. 180. and you can send your kids to public schools. the texas public schools have better achievements for whites than california white and better achievement for blacks than california blacks and hispanics than california hispanics. succumbing you know has the big government model worked very well? i would argue not so well. massachusetts gleaning small, media and exception -- may be an exception. >> i love the cover of your
book. could you describe the inspiration for the image? and the second question if you had one message for people to take with them regarding the buck, what would that be? >> the photograph design was just handed to me by a subcontractor of my publisher of random house. so my reaction was i like it. i do urge you to take a look at the maps. that's my inspiration. and actually, i paid for the maps. but this is the fremont county of 1856 and the new england yankee diaspora and the county's voting 60% for calvin coolidge, 68 years later. it looks sort of the same. what is the single message i want them to take?
the single message is this country can work. that has enabled people with a lot of different attitudes origins, tastes, beliefs to live together. it's hard sometimes. it poses some problems. i am a little minor key about the country than i've been in some of my previous writings. it can be difficult. but, i guess the other thing is dreams can percolate up in ways that we do not anticipate. be alert for what are the latest dreams, what's coming forward and motivating people?
the trends that one grows up with may not continue forever and the ones i've grown up with as i suggested by contracting the period was from 1940 or 1930 to 1970. of ththe movements are very di different. when i grew up as a liberal democrat in michigan, we assumed that the texas was foolishly conservative and would find out about the modern world and to change its ways and join michigan in the vanguard and so forth. michigan population in 2010 with 10 million. texas i gav give you the numbers earlier. it's about the same as michigan or a little more. it goes up to 25 million. for the last 40 years that model has worked. it's opened up for others to argue that maybe a different sort of model will work and i think that is what president
obama and most democrats hope will be the case. so i kind of doubt it but i am waiting to see what portion of that i will be permitted to see. [applause] >> thank you for that enlightening presentation into dialogue with the audience. now on behalf of the college of public club i would like to present you with a small token of our appreciation which you can open quickly. >> one of the things people tell you -- we hope that you'll sip from this mug as you research
your next book. the keypad on your coffee table. again on behalf of the club thank you to the audience members for attending this special presentation. we look forward to seeing you at future events when we see other high-level officials such as michael, and also, we are an unfunded club so we appreciate any monetary donations you can make. again, thank you for coming. [applause] we do have the new book shaping the nation of april and he will autograph copies so make sure that you get one.
wendy lower talks about the role german women played in the holocaust and reports that close to 500,000 women were employed in eastern europe where they were witness to and participated in numerous atrocities. hitler's fury is a finalist for the book of nonfiction. this event is about one hour and 20 minutes. >> thank you very much and i want to thank the los angeles museum of the holocaust for giving me this opportunity to speak today to you. can you hear me in the back? i should speak more loudly? is this better? i also want to make sure that i don't speak too quickly. i get very excited about my research and sometimes i start speaking too quickly so i hope
that you're going to give me a signal in the back both in terms of your ability to hear me and whether or not i should slow down a little bit. i'm really happy to be here. the doctor and i have done research in the field in ukraine. we worked on the project together, the diary of samuel can and do as a special project that took many years to produce, not as long as this one but a completely different perspective on the holocaust from the eyes of one jewish man who found himself in the maelstrom of the mass murder, so i just wanted to mention that contribution to that particular project was significant. okay. this story of ordinary german women wasn't something that i went to the archives looking f
for. i went to the archives in the former soviet union in ukraine in the summer of 1992 with a completely different question and this is rather typical of historical research that you think you're going to go after something and then you go into an archive and find a file that looks kind of strange and it gets you wondering why is this here and you kind of put it on your desk and then you think maybe this will develop into something. i'm not sure. so in the summer of 1992, the soviet union had collapsed, ukraine had become an independent country and for me i saw that as an opportunity as a scholar, graduate student to go into this territory and to try to see what was there. i had been looking at material in the national archives in washington dc and the things the military had scooped up in things like the november trial documents of captured german records, and a lot of the material that was in washington
was essentially the high command order, things that were captured in germany korea documents from berlin and the other kind of nazi agencies that were headquartered in germany itself. so the question remains what about all of those regional offices where the germans had to set up their operations in ukraine and if they lose -- belarus and where the crimes occurred. what was going on out there in the field. but to really start to understand and imagine the scope of the violence that was occurring with no killings like auschwitz. with the work of someone like timothy snyder is more apparent to us and more evident. it's possible that it is close to half of the victims of the
holocaust perished outside of these centers. during the deportations. the archive was about 100 miles about 100 miles from kiev and the reason that i went there was because i figured out from my advisors work he wrote an excellent study that he had his headquarters about 50 or 60 miles south. so i thought here is an interesting place. it's in the heart of the settlement which was historically very important for
russian jewish history that set up this reservation complained to the jewish population to this particular area. so it was the heartland of jewish history. the concentration sometimes 30 to 50% and of course around key kiev. i thought he's got hitler stationed there, a high concentration of jews and i can start to understand what happened locally, and whether or not hitler had a direct influence on that. and nearly 90s come to big question of the holocaust historiography was the decision-making question. when did the holocaust began? can we find a smoking gun of the hitler order and that is what i was thinking. often some of the most important
material does not turn up in the headquarters but because someone gets copied on a final and the local archives and i thought maybe i'm going to find some really important high-level director who's going to tell us more about how the holocaust started into the direct influence on that. when i got to the archives, i was astounded because there was a significant collection of material, things that i knew that no one had looked at before and these were files that had no footprint on the documents are the edges were burned and i could just imagine when the army came at the end of 43 to this region that they were just picking this stuff up the street and the archivist was incredibly gracious because of this moment in time ukraine was just
establishing itself as a country that hadn't really instituted the archival procedures in a way. there was a lot of open access they were bringing tea and sandwiches but the woman who was for a generous tip and read german and i was looking at the german finals and so i thought while she doesn't really know what's in here. i was transcribing as fast as i could. and among the finals was this list that showed unmarried women and i could see from the birthdays and they were basically between the ages of 18 to 25 cents to the region as kindergarten teachers and
welfare workers and they were sent and charged with doing the kind of colonial missionary work. they were supposed to be kind of civilized german rising the region because this is going to be in nazi thinking that utopia, the living space is going to be the entire for germans only hitler had referred to parts of ukraine. he said this is going to be our riviera. they were building through there and it was going to be in their mind long germans are going to be eliminated starting with the jews and that they were also going to completely turn from the landscape trade down to every flower and bush. they ha had botanists and all of these technocrats and specialists trained to turn this into the utopia and that is why hitler and himmler were located in this particular region because they had a direct hand in creating these experimental colonies and so these women were
brought in to participate in that in this colonization process. and i thought i figured this out in my research later on but initially i thought why are these young women here? this is a war zone. this is where the war of destruction is taking place, this titanic struggle, the partisan warfare, the military campaigns. i thought that ordinary german women were at home taking care of the home front and having babies so that more soldiers could go into battle and more territory could be conquered. here is an example of the kind of document. this isn't from the archive, but just to show you this. i'm starting to realize this phenomenon of these women going
east i could start to find documentation from other parts of eastern europe, local regional records and these are young women, they are telephone operators and one is situated in the fourth and the other is kind of an executive secretary in the front office and starting to figure out through this documentation that the documents that i found is possibly the tip of the iceberg. when i went back to washington several times after that and i looked at what existed. let mwhat we see as the general holocaust journal history books
and the kind of bouncy germany books to what extent do the women figure in these books? are they present in these places? a.b. someone else has already come across in the document and talked about it. and i started to look at some of the standards when i couldn't find the women in the books i was looking at of course i would find some of the camps i was trying to find them on the map of eastern europe and i wasn't finding them. i had to expand my research into all different types of sources. this is the challenge of writing women's history and especially about women who are emerging in these places in all different capacities. if a wife or girlfriend goes out to the eastern territory, she is not going to -- there isn't going to be a big paper trail.
but you find these women circulating and we find them in photographs and this is classic image of a group shot here we have a group from troubling --'s 11 and you see the woman seated next to a man with her arm around him and is on the caption and unknown woman and in the cover of the book there is another unknown woman. >> i wanted to find out how many of them were there and what were they doing. and the holocaust history i also noticed that a lot of research has been devoted to coming up with different perpetrator types. so we had these kind of characterizations that emerged in the literature.
you had of course the stud to make a sadistic killer into the eliminated anti-semites into the ordinary man coming you had that aircraft, the technocrat, the footsoldier. so these types have emerged and we were expanding on our understanding of perpetration of the holocaust and we did these kind of nuances and the similar kind of development wasn't happening how we understood the women's role. so that was something i thought about and it and i thought is e a female version of an ordinary man? is there a female version putting in uniform, where they put into kind of killing units or all the things i had read about male perpetrators started to question to what extent where they might fit into those categories. and i went back to the standard documentation that we have been using so that was my review of the literature i went back into
the archives to some of the things we had been using in the investigative material and i started to notice that women were called to testify a lot. they were very instrumental at the trifles and i started to realize that while they are coming in to testify against their mailboxes or even their spouses. they had a lot of information. they were providing a lot of historical valuable information to prosecutors that history is have pulled out of documentation and written history from that not really questioned why did this woman know so much, why is she telling me every detail about the procedures that were taken in the proper way that documents were handled, how the orders were conveyed to the killing units, the mood in the office, what happened in terms of the distribution of property,
who had access to the safe, to the classified material identifying killers and often even describing scenes of actual massacrmassacres at the killing. so i started to realize that the testimony had been kind of underappreciated or taken for granted and we hadn't asked him looking at the testimony why do they know so much? they must have been there and if they were there then what did they do that they are not revealing in his testimony. we have to go back to the traditional sources and ask more questions. and eventually, i was able to determine by this collecting effort that went on many years that there were approximately -- and this is kind of a rough estimate and future research may in fact change this but i could account for about a half a
million german women who circulated in the eastern territories during the war in different capacities. the german red cross trained a 640,000 women during the not s-sierra and 400,000 of them were in wartime service and some 300,000 of them were in the eastern territories. the german army trained another half a million in support positions as flight recorders, radio operators, wire tapper's. gamblers write access he trained some 30,000 certified them and they have to find the s.s. to maintain secrecy. these were in the headquarters and prisons. 25,200 teachers were sent to one region alone in poland to participate in this effort to set up kindergarten when the
german refugees came to teach them all about the not the ideology and so forth. so these were of course over 200,000 women, 240,000 had applied to be the wives of the men and they were encouraged to stay with their man because the organization is kind of a greeting organization so we find many wives in these locations where the men were so that they can be together and continue to promote the race and have marshaled for an. >> here is an image that i think is quite illustrative of this phenomenon, the nurses being sworn in berlin and you can see the magnitude of this, all of them in uniform and then that other image to the right is from
the cover of a brochure the east needs you and this is trying to recruit women to be settlement advisors so that when they were brought into the colonies at the german women who were brought in to teach them the language, teach them germans homes, german cooking, how to maintain a proper german household and all these different kinds of activities. >> while i was putting this picture together of what it came to be what i came to realize was a whole generation of german women because if you think about it, who are the individuals who are going to be going off in the nursing staff come in the secretarial staff, these are young women who are for all who
can reproduce and also young women who are single and working in these offices and in the nursing professions -- teachers. so i noticed that most of these women were born between 1920 to 1924. so now i not only had women on the eastern territories, but i had a kind of what looked like a kind of generational phenomenon that was emerging. i started to refer to them is the firsasthe first world war iy boomers. this fits into the general history of not see germany that the leadership itself was young and those who committed these crimes were within the german population you have people in their 40s with enormous amounts of power and similarly when enough marriage age also
wielding considerable power and the implications of that, the ability to make life and death decisions. in the summer of 2,005 i went to the u.s. holocaust memorial museum still on this kind of collecting effort peace in this together. i haven't written my results yet. things were just starting to take shape. at this point i wasn't really sure how close they got to the actual killing. i had evidence to show that many more were direct with us as and many more were in the machinery as secretaries in particular, but i didn't have a lot of cases and in the last couple of years this is when i started to turn these up as my research focused on those perpetrators and this
is a case that i came across in the archives. i remember going through that microfilm into being just so astonished by this event 60 plus years after the event was absolutely chilling. this case is one of the more prominent ones in my book. the name of the individual is berna peatrie and the reason we have documentation on her is because she was arrested by the east germans and she was interrogated by the east german police and in this report her husband -- the two of them stood trial together in 1962. when i looked at the finding and i thought this is an unbelievable case the husband and wife standing trial together.
the husband gets the guillotine and she gets a life sentence and they've committed their crimes on a farm in ukraine outside the camp system. already when i saw that i thought i've got to look at this case. then i get into the real and i see this confession here. that's her arrest certificate. she's apprehended. that is her mug shot and then to the right is the beginning of what is a confession. if you look at the righ right-hd corner if you can make that out, you can see that she is interrogated with i think one lunch break and it starts in the morning and it ends at 9:45. this is a nice clean copy. someone got the information out of her and made this digest for the record and in this document she admits to killing six jewish boys on their farm and shooting
them in the back of the neck. so, berna peatrie was one of an entire generation of young german women who saw their future in the eastern territories and they arrived there through all different paths and trajectories that they shared certain outlooks and ambitions. she had admitted in her confession the reason she killed them is because she had been so indoctrinated in the 1920s and talk to hate jews and she also said in her confession she wanted to prove herself to the man. many of these women when they went east they were put in all kinds of new situations. but they went with a certain idealism and a certain
conviction in certain hopes and dreams many of them of course didn't go voluntarily because they had compulsory wartime service but they shared this kind of nationalist outlook as to why they were there and why they had to defend their rights. even one of my cases was the nurse did the most moral sensibility and was the most conflicted about the violence when i interviewed her in 2010 it was still clear to me that she didn't question that she had to be there to defend her homeland even after she had seen the most perfect or had heard about and talked to some of the worst perpetrators in ukraine she followed her orders and went even deeper further east into the war zone and she didn't question because her sense of duty prevailed over a kind of
morality and in this regard they were no different from women. so here you can see the scale i talked about in terms of the number of women but now you can see geographically in terms of the eastern territory, the stretch all the way through poland, the politics of ukraine, belarus and this is where these women are stationed and this is of course where the most of the violence and mass killing of the holocaust occurred. today in the time remaining i want to focus on a couple more case studies i've mentioned berna peatrie is one of the worst but my intention of writing this book is not -- it
is shocking information when you get to the cases of the killers and just the everyday experiences as they intersected with the holocaust but i want the readers to gain a better sense to try to understand why they went there to begin with and why they responded in different ways that they did. the majority of them were witnesses and then the next level of participation was kind of accomplices in the machinery and the professional capacities and then you have outstanding cases of the perpetrators. this is the nurse i referred to. she was the one who went to -- she is a very complex character
and in many ways a likable figure in the buck. here is someone who got thrown into a situation and was just trying to find a way to cope. she was better educated. most of the women in the book at a grammar school education and were members of and have some sort of secretarial training and work as nannies or helping out on farms or restaurants kind of working-class. on the other hand she had training in law and she actually got her degree in the 1930s which was pretty unusual. you can see she is still alive and she decided when she was called upon when she had to do her patriotic duty that she was going to join the red cross which during the first world war
had developed into a kind of organization that attracted middle to upper-class women as s more kind of distinguished way to show your patriotism so she said i'm going to go to the red cross. and lo and behold she didn't have medical training she was pulled out of the training because they immediately noticed that she was someone who was very cultured and they said we are going to set up the leadership. we are setting up these special soldiers homes in the area in the occupied territory. this is a photograph from one of the homes where the soldiers can find retreats. so going to the front and then returning can have these prices they can ge give german cookingd interact with nice german women and relax and recreate and so forth so there were about 1200 german women sent to the east to
manage the soldiers homes and she ended up being sent to the town that had a population of about 9,000 jews. before she went on her journey east -- and for all of these women come at this moment of greatest was transformative. they hadn't been out of the town most of them and this was just to go to a new place was an enormous change and the warfare and of the genocide. a journalist in berlin said to her this is the summer of 1941 why are you going to the east don't you know they are killing jews there? so that information had already circulated back at least within
the circles of journalists and she thought really? i can't believe that. i have to follow my orders. i'm going to go anyway. then a few weeks after that she's on the train and it stops in belarus and she's with her friend and they are sitting there and these two german men in uniform coming to the compartment and they start talking to them telling a horrible story about how he said i just killed this jewish woman and described how this kind of conflict emerged because she had a disabled sister if they were not sure she was trying to save her sister and in any event, the end of killing both of these women but the men starts to tell her story and then she gets off
the train at her location where she is going to be stationed and the first flight they are having dinner and it's part of orientation and the man at the table start to explain to her that they had shot the jews and she's going for a tour in town. they point out one of the -- a man and a technical battalion unit points out this is the river this is where the 450 jewish men, women and children were shot a few months ago and this continues. she starts to learn more and more about this because as she told me often times conversations with soldiers got personal real fast. they hadn't been around german women for a long time and if they wanted to talk about this
so the women become kind of the recipients of these kind of stories. she becomes so upset that she writes back to her mother in november of 1941 she wrote to her mother was poppa says is true. people with no inhibition is a strange odor. i can now pick out these people and many of them really do smell like blood. what an enormous slaughterhouse the world is. one more example of a secretary, very interesting case. we don't really have a lot of information on belarus. very important geographically in
terms of the holocaust and very hard area to research. and in this case of a secretary near minsk in lida was brought to my attention by a colleague of mine and then i did a little bit more digging and eventually i had the opportunity to interview this man. during the war he was a boy and now he's a grown man to the left. his father, the gentleman on the left was the regional governor where there was a very significant population. it's not far from the vilness. he often found refuge in the lida because there was a workshop that had been established and they were overseeing all of this activity. this was his jewish labor and
the entire family moved out in the spring of 42 when there was a sizable population in the regions of this young man and his sisters and brothers were witnesses in the workshop and were actually witnesses to some of these crimes and mass murders. he was arrested by the soviets after the war and didn't return and was presumably killed after a quick trial. he had a secretary and they became lovers. here we have a picture. i don't know the other gentlemen in the picture. these are photographs from personal albums collected during a postwar investigation of the crime and disorder photograph
was among those that were collected. she's identified as frau. she's standing in the woods with her shotgun and that is part of the story. according to the survivors who testified after the war she was the better informed than many of the officials and the station. she was seen on various occasions re-creating and kind of carousing with the german officials. they were constructing a swimming pool. they have their ow had their owf personal jewish leaders who could fulfill their every whim be as jewelry or for. he commissioned or demanded from the jewish laborers jewelry for
his family. they made an electric train set presented to him at christmas. i was hoping that maybe he still had some of these objects because most of the population was killed and i thought maybe this is something that we have left from a population that was incredibly gifted in terms of their skills as craftsmen and jewelers and electricians and so forth. he didn't have the train said that he did have a range and that is now on display at the memorial museum in the collections for the time being because they have a very important exhibit at the museum on this history. lisa was seen going out on different excursions with the locals on the weekend. they have sundays off and in one particular incident that
survivors described after the war she and the other officials and secretaries went on their sled they often went into the snow into the forest. they wanted to hunt for rabbits on this occasion. they didn't find any and they did come across jewish laborers who were shuttling along the road and the german officials with these women they told the laborers to just run across the field in the snow which obviously it's difficult to run quickly when you're running in the snow and then they shot the jewish laborers like they were shooting rabbits. and actually, some of those died right in and there they were shot and killed. some of them actually made it to the forest and they survived and
they came back and testified against these individuals including. at that moment when the incident occurred probably never would have imagined that any of these jewish laborers would have survived and that some decades later they would come from stem and be faced with their testimony. >> they didn't take simple dictation from the, far. she was often told to write up orders and told at one point by testimony given that she authorized the shooting of 16 jews who appeared late for work. she was very important in terms of distributing the orders to the shooters from the local marie. she met with the head of the jewish affairs who came in from the workshop.
just at the center of this because of her relationship and because she had this administrative role. she was able to issue the gold cards which were life-saving documents for a jewish person other than suicide. the only other way to escape was to secure a waiver assignment. secretaries also involved in selections when the jewish victims would march through town they could literally pull individuals out of the lineup. another secretary pulled a woman out of the march. she said she had not finished knitting a sweater for her so she pulled her out in these kinds of spontaneous acts of what seems to the rescue that they were often motivated obviously by greed and personal self-interest. here's an image that i pulled out of the archives in germany.
these are very rare images from lida, belarus. here someone took an entire series of pictures from the 1942. they are being marched into this and uptown and stripped of all of their valuables and then brought to another location and you can see the silhouette of the women on the right and it reminded me of this but i had read in the testimony of the role of the women at these events. and here this particular image also very interesting and disturbing. i don't know who this woman is. i try to match her up with those images. it isn't clear to me. you have a police official to
the right and then if you can make out of there is a young jewish man coming out from a kind of hiding place and being led into this direction of course someone is taking a picture so he's essentially sounded. when i spoke to his son and worked in the testimony, one particular incident is kept coming up in the testimony is a memorable event and i wondered if this was in some way a depiction of that that a young jewish man who had been working in the stalls looking after the horses had stolen something from the food or something very minor but for that he had to pay with his life. he was trying to escape, runaway and they caught him and they wanted to make a skeptical of this to warn the others choose not to do this and they pulled him out and they hung him up on
the rod and he was left there. and the child has this memory of seeing that. one of the officials actually had a german shepherd that he, the german shepherd was also sho part of that scene attacking the young jewish man. >> i don't have time unfortunately to go through all these cases. the secretary, another secretary in ukraine actually who was seen doing more than being involved, kind of administratively but at the actual shooting sites and she herself was notorious for
killing jewish children in the ghetto and even multiple testimony from dozens of survivors from america, israel, canada who stated that she had a nasty habit of killing these jewish children by sticking her pistol she fashioned herself like a kind of cowgirl in the middle east and she would use the pistol and placed the pistol in the mouth of the charter and encode them, shoot them in the mouth. these were the disturbing and horrible cases that started to emerge as i started to dig a little bit deeper. but as i stated, these are very unusual cases. but they have to be taken seriously. i don't see these women as kind
of freaks of nature or marginal sociopaths. as i started writing the book and started to see the momentum of the regime and the way that the women were socialized and what they were doing and many of these women were committing these crimes with their chosen by their side. provides in children, the german youth. so i see this kind of -- looking into the future this was headed towards this kind of violence that was socially acceptable within these communities. people like erna peatrie were not punished for crimes they committed. they slipped back into society in their roles as housewives were secretaries were youth workers and so forth. they were not habitual killers. they just change their behavior when the system collapsed but
supported that behavior. they themselves also went back to what we think is normal law-abiding citizens and that's why many of them were not viewed by prosecutors as culpable, were not taken seriously. men and women are capable of greed because it is another part of the story. one member of the center of this culture of consumption that's driving the holocaust not because of their gender because in spite of it acting as human beings in extreme circumstances have become convinced of an idea into their own power to realize this idea. assuming that women are not capable of extreme violence and the kind of political engagement and activism that was behind that is a socio- cultural bias that has positive and negative connotations. on the one hand, the gender construction is a sign of hope that at least half of the race
[applause] [inaudible] >> now we will take questions. >> you mentioned that at least some of these women's work with german -- [inaudible] you use the term soldier. was a well-known when the germans, at the beginning of the war, as soldiers would confess that this was well known in germany that jews were being slaughtered? >> well, we know that the
regular german army was much more involved, regular army and was active were. so it has not been completely debunked. that came out -- [inaudible] >> well, yes, he was in yugoslavia but now the main story that came out after this exhibit, this controversial exhibit was circulating in germany come was just regular kind of the six army for instance. the for instance. the sixth army was the army that went to stalingrad. the martyred army because the big scene and so forth. turns out it was one of the most, had a bloody trail behind of involvement in mass shootings against jews. so when the army came in, they
stationed themselves in places -- and eggplant these massive operations of shooting operations, thousands of victims. that group might be the primary kind of shooting execution squad, but this kind of mass murder, it lasted for hours and it required a lot of personnel. and there was changeover in terms of who was doing the shooting. you had regular soldiers coming in, relief shooters, cordoned off the area, taking lots of photographs that were circulating, talk about knowledge. himmler had to keep issuing orders around eastern part, stop taking pictures. a lot of the soldiers were told you were making history and in the regular magazines, the
german equivalent of like a kodak, they were advertising get your personal, you know, your camera congress not shy came and bring it with you and document this wonderful history are participating in. are also documenting the killing, because that's part of what this campaign was all about. so you have a lot of evidence from soldiers in terms of documentation, and these are situating. some of these images are being developed back in germany. i spoke to a woman in brother it was when my witnesses and heard job, she was young woman, she was a photo technician. she's sitting in munich developing photos of these atrocities on the eastern front. >> so that's basically the myth was it was somehow separate? >> no.
>> the myth also was that the ordinary german didn't know -- [inaudible] >> we know from diaries like the diary of the dresden -- were starting to find entries and batteries even in the fall of 41 he mentions bobby. so the information is circulating. unlike the allied army, for instance, the germany army. they can't really, the communications are cut off in that regard. people are actually moving back and forth. so yeah, the knowledge was definitely circulating. >> i listened to your book yesterday. i wanted to say first of all, after all this happened --
[inaudible] after listening to the book there are so many women that were involved. after you met some of these people, did anybody ever get prosecuted for what they did? did you ever find somebody who, because of what they did, reported them or something and they got in trouble? >> okay. so most of the women slipped back into society postwar is what you mean. kind of are able to remain inconspicuous, including some of the worst perpetrators. but, of course, the perpetrators i have, thank you i have in the book, i know about them because of the document i showed you. she got a life sentence -- was arrested by the west germans.
the secretary who's killing the children. she was acquitted twice. in 79 and 82, despite all the evidence. [inaudible] >> a couple of reasons. first of all, they didn't take the prosecutor, interview the prosecutor. i asked the same question. and has explained to me, he believed that she was guilty, but he couldn't in a court, the courtroom actually get a conviction because it was based on survivor testimony which was not taken as seriously as the hard evidence documentation. so this is where it's tricky because with a male perpetrator, you can reconstruct particular units at particular networks assigned to particular killing actions and put a man in one of his units like battalion ones are one. with many of the fema perpetrators outside the camp system, if you can't get them on a camp guard list, if they're on the radio personnel this as a secretary, so these women are committing these crimes, they
are not following orders when they are -- they are doing this on their own. it making that choice, and the fact that they are not prosecuted as all more astounded because in -- the statute of limitations ran out in the 60s against everything but the crime of murder. so these accomplices, the secretaries, the can't be pursued. i started to wonder if they've been brought to germany rather than a show he might have convicted because he could've been, they couldn't place him at the crime scene. after a certain point the west germans in this case have got to prove motive, got to prove that these killers are anti-semitic connection, our sadistic, i really excessive in their behavior. and so the paradox here is that we have women, survivors, ma single look at what these women were doing. i've described some of this to you. multiple survivors from
different countries. they're not talking to each other. they have immigrated to different places. this is the '60s. they are not e-mailing each other. so they come into the courtroom and evidence corroborating testimony, testament that shows these women are doing things that are clear base motives and they're still not convicted. [inaudible] >> ukraine. [inaudible] >> concentration camps, yeah. [inaudible]
>> why did you take this group? >> well, the literature had established that about 3005 and women served as guards. we have documentation for the. and so the literature on the holocaust in terms of female perpetrators really focused on these guards. and my book is arguing that the participation is much bigger than that. and we can't think of a holocaust is confined to these spaces entirely, these closed camp settings. although they're very important. they are central to the story but they are not the entire story. it's a much broader level of participation, and in all of these different forms we can't just think of it as a guard per se. in the same way that we develop,
or the interpretations of men, that all these different functions that make genocide possible, men and women together working in these different roles. and in these different settings outside of the camp system. in their homes, in their villas, on their picnics come in these remote regional outposts, at train platforms. i mean, not in the institutional closed settings. once those walls come down of those settings, and they are down now. the story shows the camps were not so close often to society. there's a lot of penetrationcie. outside and inside. i interviewed people who were not delivering -- they werein bringing the bottles, juice and water making these deliveries into dock out. it's very tourist. into we know from the holocaust m
museum, we've gotten more thance 40,000 camps. pohlkamp universe now we have to understand is much larger, right?nd that means we have to have moree guards. i can put we can talk about not 40,000 camps and not raise theou number of femalet guards. keep that at 3500. so that story will change. but i wanted to show that thiswo was something much, much more >>e quesad and buried. [inaudible]
[inaudible] >> well, you've got -- okay, g this area goes all the way to stalingrad.same this part that is the military occupied zone a military occupied zone. they cannot produce it. and the rest by the ukraine. a big reception here. so western russia, moscow, leningrad, that is part of the village of occupation. goldman were there too.
order police and secretaries and they are massing on huge amount of plunder either because they get access near the killing centers. some are from the actual mass killing sites. the nurse that i highlighted today at one point described to me how she was charged with going through the clothing that had been taken from the killing site and was being amended and repair and send back to gemini through the welfare association which was the women's professional charitable organizations so they are handling the movement of little jewish clothes, cleaning them, mending them and sending them to german refugees. this is part of it. the secretary in that case because so many jews were deported to -- from germany and
killed in a place outside the city, bonds filled to overflowing with jewish belongings, and they developed a whole language around this which i think there is so much going on behind the scenes that is part of this history. jewish sausage, the women organizing the food that is confiscated coming into the office, like in the office people are putting food out or maybe they didn't have a celebration and taking a beating this food and talking about it, the gold taken from the bodies in the safe, as a secretary, very important incidents, she needed a gold filling, went to the dentist and needed a gold filling and her boss said her
bring a certificate and you can have access, take the gold that is in the states. she was questioned about that after the war and insisted that she did not have that bold, it somehow got lost. she did not deny taking it, she said it got lost at the end of the more when their house was raided during the occupation. the prosecutor didn't tell her to open it up. >> a lot of these killing fields out there -- did you find any stories about efforts in this
area? [inaudible] >> what we think of in terms of women being mediators or nurturing or may be involved in more resistance activities, maybe even encouraging their husband not to be so violent, playing these kind of roles and their worry these cases. there's one case in particular that is in the book, and she was involved in hiding a jewish girl, and she was a i think the wife of a force there and -- forster, she was killed. the judge in the verdict in that, the not the court at the end of the war said she should have known better. he came from an educated households and should have known
better. these stories of women who defied the system, they are very hard to piece together. but they are there. i think that is something that has to be researched. i don't think they are as numerous as the picture i've portrayed today. the reason i know about her is she was hiding those photographs and other things from the dachau camp in her family's behalf, at that was a smart hiding place. it was a -- for her civil courage. for various reasons, tried to do
something. what could i have done? the nurse i was talking about, what could i have done. it was the end of this entire system. what could i have done? [inaudible question] >> it is so hard to document or even interpret what might be signs of feelings of shame or remorse or embarrassment. when you talk to witnesses, men and women who were involved in this, even involved in the crime, it is -- first of all women are not traditionally telling gruesome war stories so is difficult for them to recount
that level of an unpleasant part of the past, would rather not talk about that. when it is discussed it is difficult for me to interpret psychologically what their feelings are about that. if someone says to me, and this has happened in the documentation as well as in person, starts to speak about jews and use the language of the time, anti-semitic language of the time as if time had not passed, then i can conclude that that ideology is so embedded in their identity and their thinking that that is probably how they were before but it is really hard especially with the passage of time for people to express that kind of -- you don't know if sometimes we mix up shame with remorse. it is very tricky to know what
is being expressed when the person is having a hard time talking about what she witnessed or did. [inaudible conversations] >> we have this ability to adapt. human adaptability. if you are not on the receiving end of it, if you talk to -- if you are not a victim of the crime, if you have a power of committing it, in terms of trauma and being able to distance and adapt and move on it is probably a lot easier but a psychologist could tell me otherwise. >> along those lines, you are
talking about something unique. [inaudible] >> i think the basic human behavior that comes out of this history is not specifically german. those were special circumstances that brought that out at that moment in germany in the 20th century and the jewish population. that is very historically specific about the kinds of brutality and motivation behind it, the greed, the way men and women participate in this, the system to create genocide is not uniquely german. hitler did not invent genocide,
he did not invent auschwitz. >> about how these regions got out and information that started with your going to do. how many witnesses did you find? >> my research took me to many archives in d.c. the holocaust museum, i went to many archives in germany, national and regional, local archives, back to ukraine several times, was in poland, france, paris. i went to various repositories to collect documentation, national archives in washington and quite a bit of field work so
starting an interview project in germany to collect witness testimony and that often got me closer to people who were more involved. whenever i found about these women i sent letters, made phone calls, tried to find out if they were still alive and see if i could talk to them and ended up searching for these women because this material was rich enough to tell their stories and they were representative of these different types that identified but i talked to many more women and couldn't get enough, and the entire trajectory to put the chapter in that context from 1920-present. i spoke, interviewed 40 witnesses and the 13 women here, in direct contact with seven of
them. several had passed away, one died in 2000 or 2003 so many of them had already passed away. >> and their children? >> yes i did. [inaudible] >> rock salt, yes. right. [inaudible] >> i didn't have a chance to talk to her. she died in -- she died in 2003. mensa petrie died in 2000. i could speak -- i spoke to the
prosecutor, talked to the defense attorney, talked to jewish witnesses who went to the trial. very interesting. but she was completely -- she conveyed absolutely no remorse. she was actually the way she conducted herself in the courtroom and the prosecutors said to me -- she is someone i would never want to encounter on a moonlit night, she was ice cold and in the court room was not a sympathetic defendant whatsoever. she was indicted for aiding and abetting in the killing of 9,000 jews. [inaudible] >> absolutely. that is another issue. applying the old prussian criminal code which is regular homicide, regular murder in a
context of genocidal kind of system. joint fit. but it can be interpreted differently. today it is being interpreted differently. it is up to the prosecutor and the judge. after the war she went to this west german investigative authority and send documentation about people she spoke to, soldiers who admitted they had taken part in mass shootings, she denounced them to the authorities after the war. she was a judge in germany after the war. she told me my efforts were rebuffed. and the records she submitted in the west german -- i could see what she sent in and how they were reacting to it. you had your hand up.
[inaudible] >> cannibalism would be references to the soviet pows left in these camps, three million peer dubyas who were killed during the war because they were shot or the nazi abandoned them in these pow camps and they had no rations and resorted to cannibalism. the jewish sausage is more about a kind of office talked-about plunder coming from food. >> based on your sudden history, germany now accept the
reinterpretation that the people knew what was happening and that is the way it has been taught and therefore altho so, therefore, although it might not be the responsibility, if it is, have become to grips with have to deal with that enemy within as opposed to the previous explanation that it was a large -- [inaudible] >> i think you're getting at to what extent germans have come to terms with this history, and today. all, of this broader complicity, yes. >> and the question to ask,. [inaudible] are the new germans accepting this and dealing with it, or is it being augmented with the
concept of history? >> west germans in particular over the years have developed what in aftermath studies of genocide, they have become a model history like restitution issues, amortization activities, secondary education. what has happened in germany since the war is quite remarkable and impressive for a post-genocidal society. [inaudible] >> right, but you have the reality of individuals who participate in these crimes. this is pretty specific to west germany. austria. austria is even worse. so this is about wanting to return to normality into normal understanding of women's behavior, too. that kind of normality. yes, putting that history behind them and moving forward.
and they were steps that the west germans took that were clearly indicative of not only moving forward but letting people get away with murder. so the legal reforms that they -- they let people reenter the civil service. they let the boss who was indicted eventually for killing 11,000 years, he was able to go back into the police force after the war. that these people could continue their careers in these professions that were already clearly involved in the holocaust. so there's that kind of story that surely shows that the system did not wasn't aggressive enough. they didn't interpret the law. they could have interpreted the law differently. they became more liberal in the interpretation. they couldn't get, when the ukrainian guard was convicted, that was a new understanding of the law. they decided at this late stage that because he was a guard, the
primary purpose was to kill, it was a martyr operation that, one, is by association guilty because you are working in a killing operation. that's the task, right? they suddenly decide this was a broader interpretation of that. that could indicate earlier on, and it wasn't. the germans in general, there's generational issues now in terms of confrontation with the past, or you see differences. i think young germans, those who are in their teens right now, there's a lot of -- if you like they've had too much of it in grammar school. ironically they don't get enough of it in college when i think the university level is the time when you approach the subject seriously. so there's an effort now that i'm involving to try to get holocaust studies and holocaust professorship and get into the creek jump at the university level. because people need to be
trained to run the memorials and to be experts in this history in germany. so there's some pieces within the system. they are not perfect but we are still working on that. but it's difficult to this day. there's still some taboos in terms of talking about this history, and it's understandable but it's not insurmountable. >> when you interview the families, the children, how was their reaction? >> yes, when i did interview one of the perpetrators, the family of one of the perpetrators, it's really an interesting story and i don't want -- you've all been so patient i can't go into detail about it, but they believed that their mother was
not so much a perpetrator during the war but a victim of postwar injustice. so they really pointed the finger at the east germans for arresting the mother, keeping her in jail for life, and killing their father. that was their experience. because you cannot blame the children for the sins of the father. i mean, their experience was the loss of their parents after the war. >> what made you get into this? [inaudible] >> in the early 90s when went to graduate school, but i was first exposed to it in the '80s. i was in vienna in 1985 studying german and music, 19th century -- i hadn't gone to the 20th century yet. those were the good old days. and at that point the scandal came out and i was going to some
of these meetings, or even smaller towns to these pubs and i was listening to these former austrian soldiers talk about the eastern front, and realized that not -- one last question. [inaudible] legal, lack of investigations and trials. there has not been a war crimes trial against a nazi war criminal in austin since 1975 in. so, you know, and the cases that you read in my book about the women in terms of the few that were pursued and the way they were treated as defendants was a little bit too much respect.
>> reminder, the book is available for sale. >> thank you very much. thank you. [applause] [inaudible] >> you are watching booktv nonfiction authors and books every weekend on c-span2. >> the '60s were -- the '60s were different. [laughter] and there were a lot of things happening involving race, the breakdown of the structure in society. i was suddenly out of the seminary and in new england. and there were no rules. things were falling apart.
and you know, without structure is very, very difficult to navigate. i was extremely fortunate to be at holy cross. i was extremely fortunate to still have had a residuum of the way i was raised, and the structure that the nuns had given me, the structure the seminary had given me. i was also extremely fortunate because i had already been in predominantly white schools. i was the only black kid in my high school in savannah. so the transition to a school with very few blocks in a very difficult set of circumstances, academically and otherwise, i have sort of a jumpstart. i was ahead of the game so i had something. so it allowed me to continue to do well. even though it was very, very difficult. >> later today on c-span, here from to supreme court justice, clarence to thomas at 9 p.m.
followed by a lenny kagan at 945 eastern. also this holiday weekend, four days of booktv on c-span2 including ever solomon on the life and art of norman well tonight at 9:30 p.m. on c-span trees american history tv, the 150th anniversary of the gettysburg address. >> on your screen is a similar phase, ray suarez. now with al-jazeera america. before you talk about your book, when did you make the move over to al-jazeera? just a couple days ago. my first day on the air over there was november 11 and so far so good. >> why the move? >> it was time. sometimes you been at a place for a while and you done everything you can do there, and they were new opportunities and
some great chances for advancement at al-jazeera america, and if they started with everything that implies. fresh, energetic, forward-looking. it's really, really fun. my staff keeps me on because everybody is like 27 years old. brace for us, this is booktv so we want to talk to you about this. five and your legacy that saved the nation. what sparked you to write this? >> guest: the publishers approach me and tbs is about to launch a big document essays on the same subject. they wanted something that would be a handbook that we both be for a general audience, so americans who are not latinos, are kind of what was the difference between a mexican and puerto rican and cuban and the dominican, and when did they come and wire the here and what's the background? how is this changing the country? and then latinos are not really taught their own history will
ethic of the public schools. some in the introduction to the book i say i haven't done my job if it at least once a chap you said i didn't know that. how come i didn't know that. so i think i hit both assignments pretty well, with the general audiences with giving them an idea of how these one out of six of their fellow citizens came to be your, and for the latino audience, some affirmation, a little history they didn't know, both proud and not so proud history. and a leaning forward to the next 20, 30, 40 years and we're going to become an even bigger part of the american home. >> host: why did you start 1500 years ago? >> guest: the first european settlements in what became the united states, not in the western investor, not in north america but in what became the united states was a column of soldiers, priest and settlers who came up from mexico city
into what's now new mexico and settled santa fe. and i started there because to me, that's where the united states is really born. before jamestown, before plymouth, before saint st. augustine, florida, these people tried to make away i in the very dry, scrubby southwest they were looking for salt, looking for gold. you're looking for a place to herd cattle so they could sell hides down in mexico city. that's really where that entrepreneurial mercantile, restless moving united states begins for me. so i started in new mexico. in the 16th century. >> host: ray suarez, what's one thing that we're going to learn reading "latino americanos"? >> guest: that 23 states of the current united states were once all or part in the spanish empire.
all the way from vancouver island in what's now british columbia, clear across to florida in this enormous crescent. that was all part of the spanish empire, and there were really three empires, the spanish, the french and english with her elbows out rubbing up against each other pushing up against each other. so i'm suggesting that you think of the united states not just as an english thing that starts on east coast and moves to the pacific, but as a multi-empire thing that wrestles until we have a winner, and that's the united states. that takes in people from everywhere and makes them american. >> host: ray suarez from al-jazeera. the book is called "latino americanos." you are watching booktv on c-span2. >> congressman john lewis, who is elwyn wilson?
>> guest: he is a man that i first encountered on may 91961 -- may 9, 1961, at the greyhound bus station. in 1961, i was part of the freedom ride. we left washington, d.c. on may 4, 1961. 15 of us, whites and blacks, to test the decision of the united states supreme court banning segregation in public transportation or my suitemate on the greyhound bus from washington, d.c. -- you must understand that in 1961, black people and white people couldn't be seated together when you get out of washington to travel through virginia, north carolina, south carolina, georgia, alabama, mississippi. we were on our way to new orleans. so we didn't have any problems for the most part until we got
to a little place in charlotte, north carolina, not a little place, a good-sized city. a young african-american man attempted to get a shoe shine in a so-called white barbershop that was in a so-called white waiting room. he was arrested and taken to jail. the next day the jury dismissed the charges against them. but the two of us arrived at the little greyhound bus station in south carolina. a group of white men met us in the doorway and started beating us and left is lying in a pool of blood. the local officials came up and want to know if want to press charges but we said no. we believe in love and peace in the way of nonviolence. i did know at the time on may 9, 1961, that this man was everett
wilson. but years later, in february, 2009, a month after president barack obama had been inaugurated, he came to my office on capitol hill with this sign -- with his son. the sun had been encouraging his father. he walked into the office and said, mr. lewis, i'm everett wilson. i'm one of the people that beat you. will you forgive me? i want to apologize. i'm sorry. his son started crying. he started crying. i started crying. they hugged me. i hugged them back and i saw him for the time since then. he recently passed. but it demonstrated the power of nonviolence, the power of love, the power of the way of peace to be reconciled.
>> host: did he come to your office out of the blue? >> guest: he did not come to my office out of the blue. he had been for a time going around to different places in south carolina trying to find students that attended a local college. black college students doing a sit in in 1960. aegon around apologizing to them. a local press person there, he made contact with in rock hill. he told him he had beaten some of the freedom riders. so the first person started working with them and discovered that i was on the bus and i was one of the people that was beaten. he said, that man is john lewis. he's in washington. he's in congress, and so he made his way to washington. >> host: another significant date that you write about in "walking with the wind," figure 27, 1960, nashville, your first
arrest. how did that come about? >> guest: i will never forget that day. i would never forget that day as long as i live. 20 years old, we had been involved in nonviolent workshops studying the way of gandhi, the way of martin luther king, jr. we had what we called social drama or role-playing. and hundreds of students had been sitting in. you would be sitting in an orderly, peaceful, nonviolent fashion waiting to be served. someone would come up and sit on you or put a lighted cigarette out in your hair or down your back. or either pour hot water, hot coffee or pull you off the stool or beat you. we were sitting there in an orderly fashion, not saying a word you're looking straight ahead. or reading a book, working on a
paper, and people started beating us. the local police officials came up and arrested all of us, and not a single person that had been engaged in violence against us. that was my first arrest the. and that day when i was arrested i felt so free. i felt liberated. i felt like i crossed over because growing up in rural alabama, when i asked my mother and my father, my grandparents, my great grandparents about segregation and racial discrimination, about those signs, white men, colored men, white women, colored women. and i said why? like what they would say that's the way it is. don't get in the way. don't get in trouble. but dr. king and rosa parks inspired me to get in trouble. so by sitting in, we were arrested and we went to jail. 89 of us were arrested on that
day. >> host: did you pay a fine? were you in jail for a while? >> guest: we were in jail for a few hours. a matter of fact, the local school officials came down and bailed us out. that was my first arrest. that was my introduction to the southern jails. i tell people, i grew up sitting down on this lunch counter stools and going to jail in places like nashville and birmingham, jackson, mississippi, and atlanta, georgia, and a few other places across the south. >> host: what was the ultimate result in nashville prior to the larger civil rights movement? >> guest: the nashville community became probably one of the first major cities in the american south to segregated lunch counters and restaurants. a year later desegregate all of its theaters.
in nashville, we took, we started talking about the beloved community of making nashville and open city. nashville was considered the essence of the south, and there was people in the white community, very progressive, really liberals that really wanted to see nashville make the great transition to a peaceful and open city. >> host: how'd you get a national? >> guest: i left rural alabama and in september 1957, 17 years old, traveling by bus to study. i wanted to attend a little school outside of troy, alabama, knew where i grew up. i grew up 50 miles from one country. 10 miles from detroit, and i applied to go to a school called troy state college. now known as troy university. submitted my application. my high school transcript. i never heard a word from the school, so i wrote a letter to
dr. martin luther king, jr. he wrote me back and sent me a round-trip greyhound bus ticket, invite me to come to montgomery to meet with them. in the meantime i had been accepted to this caused a national. so i went off to nashville. not obligate me a $100 bill. gave me one of these big upright footlockers. i put everything that i owned in this footlocker. my books, my clothing, and went to nashville. and i literally grew up in nashville. because it was there that i started studying the philosophy and the discipline of nonviolence. >> host: who is shorty and sugar but? >> guest: shorty was a name that my mother, my mother called my father and my father would call my mother sugar foot. >> host: what did they give? >> guest: they worked on the form. in 1944 when i was four years old, and i do remember when i
was four. i remember when i was four. my father was a sharecropper, a tenant farmer. but in 1944 he had saved $300, and he bought 110 acres of land. my family still owns that land today. and on this form we raised a lot of cotton and corn, peanuts, hogs and cows and chickens. and i would be out of their sundays working in the field, and i would say to my mother, this is hard work, this is hard work. and she would say, boy, hard work never killed anybody. and i kept saying to myself if i can make it to the end of the row. and i complained that working in the field like this is just like gambling. you spend all this money on fertilizer and plants and seeds, and sometimes you get too much rain and you don't know whether you're going to make anything or not. and my mother would say, that's all we can do, that's all we can
do. but as a young child when i was only about seven and a half, eight years old, and later nine, 10, i would get up early in the morning and get my book bag and hide under the porch and wait for the school bus to come along to runoff, to get on the bus to go to school. i didn't like working in the field. i didn't like being out there in the hot sun. >> host: did you get in trouble for that? >> guest: i did get in trouble, but they encouraged me to get an education. but at the same time, they needed me to work in the field. but it was -- i guess it was part of my first protest. on the form it was my responsibility to care for the chickens, and i fell in love with raising chickens like no one else could raise chickens. >> host: you write about that in your most recent book, "march: book 1", a graphic novel. and a near you write about
preaching to the chickens. >> guest: will, as a young child, i wanted to be a minister. i wanted to preach the gospel. so from time to time with the help of my brothers and sisters and my cousins we would gather all of our chickens together in the chicken yard. and my brothers and sisters and cousins would line the outside of the chicken yard and i would start speaking, preaching. but the chickens along with my brothers and sisters and cousins would help make up the audience of the congregation. i remember very well, i fell in love ways in those chickens. the chickens taught me patience. they taught me hard work. they taught me not to give up or not to give in, that if you don't know anything about raising chickens on a farm, you have to take the fresh eggs and mark them with a pencil. you place them under the setting in and you wait for three long weeks for the little chicks to hatch. the reason you mark with a
pencil before you place them under the setting in, from time to time another hand would get on this thing and they would be so more eggs. you would have to separate the eggs. sometime i would take these little chicks and give them to another hand, either take the little chicks and put them in a box with a lantern, raise them on their own. i was never quite able to save $18.98 to order the most inexpensive incubator for the sears and roebuck store. this big catalog. some people called it an order book. other people called it the wish book. i wish i had this, i wish i had the. so as a child it was my duty, my responsibility to care for those chickens. and i tell young children today some of those chickens -- they would never quite said a man but i'm convinced some of those chickens i preached to in the '40s and 50s tended to listen to me much better than some of my colleagues listen to me today in the congress. they were more productive.
>> host: what would happen when one of the chickens became sunday dinner? >> guest: oh, i would protest. i didn't like the idea of my mother, father, some relatives coming in and get one of the chickens to have it for dinner. it was probably my first nonviolent protest against my parents and other relatives. >> host: what is your most recent book on your life in this form, in graphic novel form? >> guest: a staff person of mine back in, oh, '08, came to me and said, congressman, you should write, you should write a comic book. well, the way it started, he was going -- the campaign was over and he was going to go out to comic con and the other staffers started laughing. you going to the comic book conference? and i said, you should make fun of them. you shouldn't laugh.
there was another comic book that came out in late 1957, early 1958 i believe, and it was called martin luther king, jr. and the montgomery story published by an organization called the fellowship of reconciliation, a pacifist or. and i said, that comic book, the little book sold for 10 cents but influenced many of us in the early days of the civil rights movement, including the four students in greensboro, north carolina. and many of us in nashville. and so this young man named andrew, my co-author, came back to me and said, congressman, you really should write a comic book. and i finally said to him, yes, if you would do it with me. the rest is history. and the book is doing very, very well. this is just book one. we still have book number two and book three. book to come out in the fall of